Human Services head questions need for audit review release

Monday, December 20, 2010 at 6:30pm
Staff reports

The commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services on Monday afternoon issued a response questioning the timing and necessity of a Comptroller of the Treasury’s Division of State Audit review critical of the department and released earlier in the day.

Virginia T. Lodge, Human Services Department commissioner, notes in her letter she is “puzzled” by the release, referencing waste in a home weatherization program, the office of Comptroller Justin P. Wilson sent to the media.  

“I did not see anything it [the review] that has not previously been discussed and addressed between our two departments,” Lodge writes. “If there is some new information I have missed or any steps that we should take that we have not already implemented, please let me know.”

Officials with the Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury could not be reached for comment late Monday afternoon.

Monday morning, Wilson’s office issued a release outlining how federal stimulus money intended to provide home weatherization improvements for low-income persons is being wasted or misspent in Tennessee, according to a Division of State Audit preliminary review.

Wilson outlined the results from the review of the Human Services Department-administered Weatherization Assistance for Low-Income Persons program in a letter sent Monday to Lodge and noting various deficiencies and concerns.

Lodge writes in her letter to Wilson that the Department of Human Services has instituted statewide standards and tools for determining how homes are to be weatherized, has devised a centralized on-line bidding process, has issued quality control measures and has established a centralized database for payment purposes.

In April 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded the state $99 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funds for the program, plus another $7 million in non-ARRA funding during fiscal year ended June 30.    

2 Comments on this post:

By: skeptic1 on 12/21/10 at 8:09

Talk about timing. How many government employees did this reporter expect to reach for comment after 5:30 PM?

Audit reports are required to be public record by state and federal law. Even if they are not flattering.

By: AmyLiorate on 12/21/10 at 8:40

Great comment Skeptic.

Virginia Lodge questionins the timing... OK, how long of a delay is needed? What happens during that time? More waste?

And its necessity Ms. Lodge? Well, if the people paid for the program and we paid for the study then isn't it necessary to release the information? It's public information - yes I think it's necessary to make it available to the public.

I guess you found all of this to be inconvenient. But I call it oversight.

But don't worry too much, unfortunately you aren't alone, plenty of other public offices are wasting money as well.